Whether tap water, hard cider (above) or French Champagne, drink up, toast the day.
I have a quirk (okay, maybe a lot of quirks), but I’m not so sure this slant has served me well. I often keep something for a special occasion or reserve it for a more audacious or celebratory moment. I’m no hoarder (at least not yet), but after a couple rounds of unexpected self-reflection (personal growth is so exhausting), I came face to face with yet another epiphany and vowed to change my off-based penchant of waiting for a special time or place to enjoy something, and to favor the goodness here and now (or at least before its expiration date or subsequent deterioration).
Case in point, four years ago a dear and generous friend I don’t see enough of, Ellen, came by for a visit and left me with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne. As a man used to buying ‘champagnes’ with appellations nowhere near France or the premium wine rack, I tried not to clutch the thing like a chilled newborn.
Fast forward to my birthday dinner this year. I ran out of bubbly, but was drawn to the gleam of an orange-gold label in the back of my cluttered fridge. As an icebox fixture for close to half a decade, the Veuve Clicquot finally broke its silence and called out to me (exasperated and in French no less) “Monsieur, le moment est venu.” When magnums speak, I listen (and don’t drive). Indeed, the time was now to enjoy.
I uncorked the puppy (quite improperly I might add), bestowing a fine dent in the ceiling and a lesser example on the the forehead of an unsuspecting dinner guest (beware of the ricochet). We dispatched the bottle before a cold compress could soothe a surprisingly understanding (and now swelling) brow. While the champagne was heaven on high, I appreciated that the people around me made the moment special, not so much the libation. The bottle sat empty, but the evening brimmed full.
Is there a message here? Oh I don’t know, I just think too often we run around saving things for better days or times, when every day really is a special gift. Perhaps a readjustment is needed; use your good china, eat from silver, share a meal, give someone flowers, buy a pal coffee, wear your Sunday best on a Wednesday, pet a friendly dog, call a sibling, split a dessert, mow a neighbor’s lawn. (Uh, second thought, let’s omit that last one.) Things don’t make the day special, people do.
Don’t get me wrong; of course not every day is swell. Some days embody the staleness of a week-old biscuit or the sourness of turned milk. For me, seizing the day does not mean I have to climb a mountain, cure cancer or swim with dolphins, but it does mean I have to engage, listen and be willing to open my eyes to the people, delights and gifts around me. By always waiting for a special occasion, we can miss out on the present.
The Hardware Store Restaurant on our main drag sums it well in an old wooden sign posted on the landmark’s Northeast corner: Today’s special…and so is tomorrow.
I couldn’t agree more.
This actually was a special occasion, a sunny day in Seattle.